Journal of peptide science : an official publication of the European Peptide Society

In vitro activity of novel in silico-developed antimicrobial peptides against a panel of bacterial pathogens.

PMID 23893489


Antimicrobial-peptide-based therapies could represent a reliable alternative to overcome antibiotic resistance, as they offer potential advantages such as rapid microbicidal activity and multiple activities against a broad spectrum of bacterial pathogens. Three synthetic antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), AMP72, AMP126, and also AMP2041, designed by using ad hoc screening software developed in house, were synthesized and tested against nine reference strains. The peptides showed a partial β-sheet structure in 10-mM phosphate buffer. Low cytolytic activity towards both human cell lines (epithelial, endothelial, and fibroblast) and sheep erythrocytes was observed for all peptides. The antimicrobial activity was dose dependent with a minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) ranging from 0.17 to 10.12 μM (0.4-18.5 µg/ml) for Gram-negative and 0.94 to 20.65 μM (1.72-46.5 µg/ml) for Gram-positive bacteria. Interestingly, in high-salt environment, the antibacterial activity was generally maintained for Gram-negative bacteria. All peptides achieved complete bacterial killing in 20 min or less against Gram-negative bacteria. A linear time-dependent membrane permeabilization was observed for the tested peptides at 12.5 µg/ml. In a medium containing Mg²⁺ and Ca²⁺, the peptide combination with EDTA restores the antimicrobial activity particularly for AMP2041. Moreover, in combination with anti-infective agents (quinolones or aminoglycosides) known to bind divalent cation, AMP126 and AMP2041 showed additive activity in comparison with colistin. Our results suggest the following: (i) there is excellent activity against Gram-negative bacteria, (ii) there is low cytolytic activity, (iii) the presence of a chelating agent restores the antimicrobial activity in a medium containing Mg²⁺ and Ca²⁺, and (iv) the MBC value of the combination AMPs-conventional antibiotics was lower than the MBC of single agents alone.